Can I drink alcohol on a Keto diet? Will a single glass of liquor take me out of ketosis? What keto-friendly alcohol can I order when I go out? Doesn’t the body turn alcohol into sugar?
Let me answer all these questions and more!
Disclaimer: Consumption of alcoholic drinks negatively affects your ability to drive a car or operate machinery and may cause health and behavioral problems if consumed in excess. On a keto diet, you might need significantly less alcohol to get severely intoxicated. Women should not drink alcoholic beverages during pregnancy. Alcool leads to addiction. If you need help, call your local Addiction Center (In the US: (866) 399-3979, in Canada: 1-800-565-8603, in the UK: 0300-123-1110, in Australia: 1300-85-85-84, in NZ: 0800 787 797).
I’ll cover with you how alcohol affects the body to understand better why some drinks are keto-friendly, and some are not. I’ll also cover all the most popular alcoholic drinks, from the common ones like beer and wine to liquors and spirits, but also the most popular cocktails. And I’ll try to offer alternatives for the drinks that are definitely not keto-friendly!
Drinking alcohol is mostly a social celebration. Whether it’s for a birthday, an anniversary, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, or Thanksgiving, or just because you are happy to meet some friends, alcohol has always been a way to celebrate.
Let me tell you this first. You can drink alcohol on a keto diet! Keto and alcohol are compatible. There are many drinks that are naturally keto-friendly and many others that just need some adjustments to become keto-friendly. Whether you are new to the keto diet or you’re a pro, read on to get the most important facts about the keto diet and alcohol.
If you’re in a rush, here are the most keto-friendly common drinks:
|Alcohol||Net Carbs||Serving Size|
|Tequila||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Rum||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Whiskey||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Vodka||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Gin||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Bourbon||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Cognac||0 gram||1.5 oz|
|Champagne||1-2 grams||4 oz|
|Dry Wine||1-6 grams||5 oz|
|Light Beer||3-8 grams||12 oz|
Continue reading for the complete list!
Let’s start from the beginning. Understanding what alcohol is and how it affects the body is quite important to understanding which alcoholic drinks are keto-friendly.
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Alcohol is a chemical substance called ethanol that is present in all alcoholic beverages. It is psychoactive, so it changes the way you feel. That’s why you are a bit more euphoric, sociable, and generally feeling happier after having a drink.
Because it is a drug, it is essential to drink responsibly and control your alcohol consumption. Never drink and drive! And be aware of the long-term physical and mental effects of habitual drinking.
Warning! People on a keto diet tend to get intoxicated from much smaller quantities of alcohol.
Alcohol is made from sugar! This process called fermentation turns the sugar present in fruit, grains, or vegetables into alcohol.
For example, wine is made from grapes. The sugar in grapes turns into alcohol. Yeast performs this fermentation using an anaerobic process, meaning in the absence of oxygen. Fermentation is what yeasts use to create their energy.
The most important factor for the keto-friendliness of any drink is the quantity of residual sugar. Residual sugar is what is left after the fermentation process.
This is a common misconception. No, alcohol is not broken down into sugar. It is actually the opposite. The consumption of alcohol tends to decrease the blood glucose level. The number of calories in alcoholic drinks is mostly coming from alcohol.
However, many alcoholic drinks also contain carbs. Carbs in drinks are much faster to enter your blood than the equivalent calories in food like pasta or bread. As a result, alcoholic drinks that do contain sugar can take you out of ketosis extremely fast!
Alcohol can also increase your hunger. This can lead to eating more than necessary and is another risk for your ketosis.
Another thing to be aware of is that your liver already works a lot when you are on a keto diet. It produces Ketones to keep you functioning. When you drink alcohol, it has to work overtime to remove that ethanol from the bloodstream. It can result in either longer intoxication (if production of ketones is prioritized) or increased fat storage (if alcohol elimination is prioritized), which may affect your weight loss!
Yes, you can drink alcohol on keto. In fact, there are many keto-friendly alcoholic drinks available. Just remember that like all keto-related questions, it is always the quantity that matters!
If one glass of wine is keto-friendly, it doesn’t mean that you would still be in ketosis after 4 glasses! And you are more likely to fall for sugary food when drunk.
By now, you’ve gathered that not all alcohols are keto-friendly, so let’s cover all the common drinks, whether or not they are keto-friendly, and if an alternative is possible.
There are several alcohols that are fine on a keto diet. The main ones are:
Find below the list of alcoholic drinks to avoid on a keto diet!
Now let’s have a look in much more detail on what are the best keto-friendly alcohols on a keto diet or on a low-carb diet.
Like all other alcoholic drinks, wine is manufactured from sugar-loaded fruits. In fact, the more sugar in the fruit, the stronger the drink will be!
Some wines have a lot of residual sugar left after fermentation, and some wines have almost none.
On a keto diet, you want wines that have close to no residual sugar. Luckily, there’s a common scale of how much sugar is left in the wine. It’s called the Wine Dryness Scale.
Tip: if you are dining in a restaurant and your waiter doesn’t know if a wine is keto-friendly, ask for a very dry wine!
|Tempranillo||Red Wine||Dry||2.3g||5oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Pinot Noir||Red Wine||Dry||3.4g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Merlot||Red Wine||Dry||3.7g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Red Wine||Dry||3.8g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Syrah||Red Wine||Dry||3.8g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Chianti||Red Wine||Dry||3.9g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Cote du Rhone||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Beaujolais||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Bourgogne (Burgundy)||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Cabernet||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Malbec||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Grenache||Red Wine||Dry||4g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Tawny Port||Red Wine||Very Sweet||20g||2oz||No|
|Vin Santo||Red Wine||Very Sweet||30g||3.5oz||No|
|Champagne||White Wine||Extra-dry||2g||4oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Prosecco||White Wine||Extra-dry||2g||5oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Muscadet||White Wine||Extra-dry||2g||5oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Grenache Blanc||White Wine||Extra-dry||2.5g||5oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Pinot Gris (Pinot Grigio)||White Wine||Extra-dry||2.6g||5oz||Yes - up to 3|
|Sauvignon Blanc||White Wine||Dry||3g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Verdicchio||White Wine||Dry||3.2g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Chardonnay||White Wine||Dry||3.2g||5oz||Yes - up to 2|
|Semillon||White Wine||Dry||4.1||5oz||Yes - one|
|Torrontes||White Wine||Dry||4.6g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Chablis||White Wine||Dry||5g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Riesling||White Wine||Dry||5.5g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Gewurztraminer||White Wine||Semi-Sweet||7.8g||5oz||Yes - one|
|Muscato||White Wine||Semi-Sweet||7.9g||5oz||Yes - one|
|White port||White Wine||Sweet||16g||5oz||No|
|Tokaji||White Wine||Very Sweet||20g||5oz||No|
|Vin Santo White||White Wine||Very Sweet||28g||5oz||No|
|Ice Wine (Eiswein)||White Wine||Very Sweet||40g||5oz||No|
Champagne is one of these wines forever associated with celebrations. Luckily, Champagne is almost always a very dry wine.
In fact, you can tell how dry it is by its name. Dry translates to “Sec” in French, but most Champagne bottle would say something different: Brut.
Brut, is actually a level of dryness, even less sweet than dry. It is specific to Champagne.
Since you are going to be looking for a dry wine, it is useful to know how other languages refer to dry wines.
It is also useful to know what labels are NOT keto-friendly. If you see the following on a bottle, avoid it!
Unless it is a light beer, no, you can’t have regular beer on a keto diet!
A typical beer has about 20 grams of net carbs per 12 ounces or 350 ml serving. This is because beer, unlike spirit, has a quicker fermentation process, and therefore more sugar remains in the bottle.
If you want to drink a beer on your keto journey, make sure to pick a light beer, also known as a low-calorie beer.
Light beer is, unfortunately, an unregulated term. Depending on what the beer manufacturer wants to sell, they might use it to mean different things.
Light Beer can sometimes refer to low-carbohydrate or low-sugar beer, which is what you want on a keto diet.
Light Beer also refers to low-alcohol beer. Although there are a number of beers that are both low in alcohol and in sugar, it is not always the case. Many low-alcohol beers contain a high quantity of carbs.
Make sure to read the full sticker! Some beers advertise 0 Sugar or sugar-free, but that does not mean 0 carbs! Carbs can be present as starch, which is technically not sugar but still gets digested and transformed into glucose, kicking you out of ketosis!
To illustrate this, just have a look at the two low-alcohol beers below.
So when choosing a low-carb beer, don’t only look at the alcohol content. It doesn’t tell the whole story.
The best beers to choose on a keto diet and to stay in ketosis are the beers that are low in sugar and carbs.
Here is a selection of common beer and whether or not they are keto-friendly:
|Beer||Carbs per Serving||Serving Size||Alcohol||Keto Friendly|
|Lagunitas Hop||0 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||0%||Yes|
|Bridge PrimeTime||1.5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||5%||Yes - up to 3 cans|
|Budweiser Select 55||2 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||2.4%||Yes - up to 3 cans|
|Miller 64||2.4 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||2.8%||Yes - up to 3 cans|
|Corona Premier||2.6 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Lagunitas DayTime IPA||3 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Budweiser Select||3.1 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.3%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Miller lite||3.2 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.2%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Milwaukee Best Light||3.5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.8%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Southbound Light Lager||3.5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.8%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Deschutes Wowza||4 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Deschutes Da Shootz||4.2 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4%||Yes - up to 2 cans|
|Coors light||5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.2%||Yes - 1 can|
|Sufferfest Repeat||5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||3.5%||Yes - 1 can|
|Bud Light Platinum||5.1g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||6%||Yes - 1 can|
|Heineken Light||6.3 g||330ml / 11.2 fl. oz.||2.5%||Yes - 1 can|
|Bud Light||6.6 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.2%||Yes - 1 can|
|MIlwaukee Best Ice||7.3 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||5.9%||Yes - 1 can|
|Tecate Light||7.9 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||3.9%||Barely - 1 bottle|
|Greens IPA||8.2 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||5%||Barely - 1 bottle|
|Greens Dubbel Ale||8.5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||7%||Barely - 1 bottle|
|Amstel Light||8.6 g||330ml / 11.2 fl. oz.||2.5%||Barely - 1 bottle|
|Greens Discovery||9.9 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||6%||No|
|Budweiser||10.6 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||5%||No|
|Heineken Lager||11 g||330ml / 11.2 fl. oz.||5%||No|
|Budweiser Zero||11.5 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||0%||No|
|Sol||11.5 g||330ml / 11.2 fl. oz.||4.5%||No|
|Corona Extra||13 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.6%||No|
|Deschutes IPA||13 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||6.4%||No|
|Lagunitas PA||13 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||6.2%||No|
|Tecate Original||13 g||355ml / 12 fl. oz.||4.5%||No|
|Heineken 0.0||15.8 g||330ml / 11.2 fl. oz.||0%||No|
Can I drink whiskey on keto? Does tequila have carbs? Can I have vodka on keto? I hear these questions ALL the time.
Yes, you can. As long as your spirits are not mixed with other sugar-loaded ingredients like fruit juice, syrups, sodas, or energy drinks. It’s that simple.
Manufacturing spirits requires the use of carb-loaded ingredients like potatoes (vodka), grain (vodka, whiskey), agave (tequila), or sugar cane (rum, cachaca).
But is liquor keto after this process? How can vodka be keto when it’s made from a very not keto vegetable?
Yes! Because all the carbs in these spirits turn into alcohol during the distillation process and they end up with no carbs left at the end.
Let’s have a look at how many carbs you would find in spirits.
|Spirit||Serving Size||Net Carbs||Keto-friendly|
|Shōchū||3oz (90ml)||4g||Yes - one serving|
|Absinthe||1 oz (30ml)||0g||No - Read note below|
|Pastis||1 oz (30ml)||0g||Yes|
Note: Absinthe is traditionally taken on a sugar block because it is so high in alcohol that it’s impossible to drink otherwise. Safe to say that the block of sugar is not keto-friendly and that, therefore, it is not advised to take Absinthe on keto!
There are millions of cocktail recipes. The vast majority of recipes are not keto-friendly as they contain either pure sugar, sugar-loaded juice, syrups, or soda.
There is a handful of them that are keto-friendly without having to adjust the recipe – see table below.
|Cocktail||Serving Size||Carbs per Serving||Keto friendly|
|Bloody Mary||7.5oz||8.8g||Barely (make it a tad smaller)|
The solution to make these cocktails keto-friendly is to either:
If you are after low-carb versions of your favorite cocktail, check out my recipes below.
Liqueurs are, by definition, alcoholic beverages that are bottled with added sugar and flavors. As a result, they are not keto-friendly by design!
If you are not sure if what you bought is a spirit or a liqueur, the list below has the most common liqueurs that are all NOT keto-friendly.
Most ciders are not at all keto-friendly. It’s actually one of the very worst drinks to have on a ketogenic diet.
A typical cider would have about 20 to 30 grams of carbs per serving. This is because the fermentation process is often incomplete to keep the cider sweet. Or sometimes, sugar is added after the fermentation is finished.
There are some low-carb ciders available. The Cider Association has also adopted a dryness scale, very similar to a wine dryness.
However, this dryness scale is considerably shifted compared to wine dryness. Indeed, even a Dry Cider can have up to 10-15 grams of net carbs per serving!
So the best bet is to avoid cider altogether.
Now that we have covered what alcohol is and isn’t keto-friendly, we have to discuss hangover.
Your hangover is going to be worse on a keto diet.
The very reason why it happens is that carbs are acting as a buffer for alcohol in your bloodstream. Slowing down the rate at which it hits your system.
On a keto diet, your glucose reserves are low, and therefore alcohol hits you much faster and much harder than if you were not on a keto diet.
In conclusion, more than ever, it is important to drink responsibly when you are on a ketogenic diet!
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